This past weekend, an off-road racecar became airborne and crashed into a large group of spectators watching the California 200 near Lucerne Valley. Six people died at the scene and two more later that evening. Several more were injured.
When accidents happen at sporting events questions arise regarding liability. Many spectators assume they are safe at sporting and special events – whether baseball games, concerts, or car races. However, this is not always the case. Further, when accidents do happen, the party ultimately responsible for any injury depends on a variety of factors.
One of the first issues to determine is who owns the property? Here, the property was owned by the Federal government and controlled by the Bureau of Land Management. In some circumstances, owners of land may be held liable for dangerous events that occur on their property.
Further, was a third party, host, or contractor involved? Here the event was promoted by Mohave Desert Racing (MDR). Did MDR do all that was necessary to warn of risks involved in the event and take necessary safety precautions?
Additionally, did the driver’s or spectators’ actions play a role? The contract for the event specified that the trucks are to limit their speed to no more than 15 mph when spectators are near by. Witnesses report that the truck was going faster than this speed when it left the raceway and that the spectators were crowding the field.
Although the specific facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic case are unknown, the event has raised many questions regarding the safety of off-road races.
As a California attorney concerned about injury prevention, I am hopeful more safety measures will be implemented to prevent further off-road accidents and injuries in the future.